Agribusiness
FOREST CITY MOVING EQUIPMENT BUSINESS EARNS IOWA FARM BUREAU’S RENEW RURAL IOWA ENTREPRENEUR OF MONTH AWARD PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Thursday, 26 January 2012 16:22

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Jan. 26, 2012 – Whether it’s moving massive structures such as wind turbine equipment, hauling out water vessels in Alaska or engineering a unique system to plant trees at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, HMR Supplies prides itself on solving literally the nation’s biggest  moving and transportation challenges. The Forest City company’s commitment to innovation has helped it earn the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award.

HMR Supplies is an original equipment manufacturer that provides products for the heavy transport industry, including structural movers, large construction equipment moving or transportation of oil field, cement, marine and wind industry products.

The company started when founder Ron Holland of Forest City needed to raise his home to put in a basement. Holland ended up buying the house-moving business he used in 1977 and from there, began manufacturing Holland Dollies for resale. In 1999, Ron’s son, Chris, brought new skills to the company that he learned while studying electrical engineering at Iowa State University.  Chris and his wife, Natalie Hammer, helped turn the small manufacturing company into a global industry powerhouse, which still operates out of Forest City.

In addition to creating innovative products that move large loads, the company is hiring. Natalie said the company currently employs 18 people and hopes to grow to 50 in the next five years. “We’re helping bring people back to Iowa to work and raise their families,” said Natalie. “It’s part of the rural brain gain.”

Winnebago County Farm Bureau member Randi Benson said companies like HRM are vital to the rural area. “Without agriculture and businesses like this, there wouldn’t be a Main Street in Forest City,” said Benson. “It keeps the community going.”

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. The next Renew Rural Iowa Business Success Seminar takes place February 15th at the Muse-Norris Conference Center in Mason City.  For more information, go to www.renewruraliowa.com.

 

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Nation’s Largest Organic Farming Conference Returns to La Crosse, WI, February 23-25 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Greg Leaf   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:00
SPRING VALLEY, WI – The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts its 23rd annual Organic Farming Conference, February 23-25, 2012, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, WI.

The annual Organic Farming Conference (OFC) is the nation’s largest and foremost educational and networking event for the organic farming community.

The farmer-centered OFC will feature more than 65 informative workshops, 160-plus exhibitors, nationally known keynote speakers, and locally sourced food and live entertainment. MOSES expects attendance to be about 3,000 farmers and agricultural professionals.

Held on Thursday, February 22 prior to the OFC, the Organic University will offer 10 full-day courses on various organic agriculture topics for novices and experts alike.

“We’re really focused on farmer-to-farmer education and networking at our conference,” notes Conference Co-Director Chris Blanchard.


Keynote Speakers

Two nationally recognized authorities are featured presenters at the OFC.

On Friday, February 23, Margaret Krome, Policy Program Director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, will present: “Growing Food, Health and Democracy: How Farmers, Activists and Consumers are Finding Our Power and Transforming the Food System.”

On Saturday, February 24, Heinz Award-winning filmmaker Curt Ellis will present a rich multi-media presentation titled: “Growing Forward: The New Faces of Food and Farming.” King Corn filmmaker Ellis is Co-Founder of FoodCorps.


Organic Farmer of the Year

MOSES also will announce and feature the 2012 Organic Farmer of the Year award recipient. The award is granted annually to an outstanding organic farmer or farm family who are innovators; who excel in managing farm resources; and who serve as educators and examples in their communities and to the next generation of organic farmers.


Young Organic Stewards

Young people have always been at the heart of the OFC.  The Young Organic Stewards program recognizes, honors and supports the next generation of organic farmers through targeted workshops and social activities.


Attendance Details

Cost to attend the conference is $195, which includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, workshops, general sessions, admission to the exhibit hall and evening entertainment. Supper is available at the conference for $15 for adults.

The fee for the in-depth Organic University sessions on Thursday, February 22, is $170.

The deadline for OFC and Organic University advance registration is Monday, February 13. Walk-ins will be accepted after that for an added fee.

There are numerous events for children and teens throughout the conference, including childcare as well as discounted meals and attendance fees.


More information

To learn more, call MOSES at 715-778-5775 or go to our website,
http://mosesorganic.org/conference.html

 
James Andrew to represent Iowa on advisory council PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Kevin Stillman   
Wednesday, 25 January 2012 10:56

James Andrew to represent Iowa
on America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM advisory council

Advisory council to help distribute more than $2.3 million to rural school districts

JEFFERSON, Iowa (January 25, 2012) –  James Andrew of Jefferson, Iowa, was selected to represent Iowa on the America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM Advisory Council, a board of 26 farmer leaders that determines the rural school district recipients of the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants. This two-year assignment allows farmers on the council to help select which school districts are most deserving of $10,000 or $25,000 grants.
“America’s farmers have told us that nothing is more important than growing the next generation, so the Monsanto Fund created America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education as a way to help farmers improve school districts in their rural communities,” said Linda Arnold, Monsanto Customer Advocacy Lead. “We asked these 26 farmer leaders to represent the farmers in their state in the decision of how best to award the grant money.”
The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council is made up of farmer leaders from across the country, who are actively engaged in their local communities through various leadership positions, such as a member of the local School Board, an active Farm Bureau leader or a member of an educational organization or committee within various organizations. The council is responsible for reviewing the top grant applications to select the winning school district in each USDA-appointed Crop Reporting District (CRD). These individuals are passionate about both agriculture and education, which is essential when choosing the best grant for each CRD.   
“The farmers on the Advisory Council are leaders in their rural communities,” said Arnold. “Their passion for both agriculture and education make them well-suited to help us review the grant applications.”
Andrew was chosen for his exemplary experience with state and national farm commodity groups including Iowa Corn Growers, Iowa Soybean Association, American Soybean Association and U.S. Grains Council. He cares deeply about the quality of education in his community and is dedicated to helping grow and develop local students. One way to do this is through increasing learning opportunities through additional funding and education projects. Andrews hopes to make a difference for not only local students, but schools across the state through the advisory council.
“I believe in America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education," Andrew said. "My work in the soybean and biotech arena has convinced me of the future need for continuing science and math research by our high school graduates in the genetics and products is needed to keep America in the lead to feed an ever-growing and hungry world.”
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, is a new program that gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their rural community to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. The Monsanto Fund will award 199 grants this year. There will be 177 $10,000 grants and 22 grants of $25,000 awarded. Visit growruraleducation.com to see a complete list of eligible states and regions. Grants will be awarded based on merit, need and community support. Overall, the Monsanto Fund will donate more than $2.3 million to school districts in 39 states through this program.
The program was piloted in 165 eligible counties in Minnesota and Illinois, in which more than 11,000 farmers nominated their schools. The Monsanto Fund donated more than $266,000 in total to local school districts in nine CRDs in Illinois and seven CRDs in Minnesota in 2011.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, to support farming communities. Visit growruraleducation.com for a complete listing of school districts, counties and more information about America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education.

About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work.  Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.

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Show Your Love for the Iowa State Fair on Your Tax Return! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jenna Reece   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 14:50

News from Blue Ribbon Foundation

DES MOINES, IA (01/24/2012)(readMedia)-- There are thousands of things to love about the great Iowa State Fair, where "Nothing Compares!" From funnel cakes and Ferris wheels, food on a stick and free entertainment, to premier livestock events, art exhibits and the country's largest state fair food department, the Iowa State Fair has something for everyone. Again this year, Iowans can continue to show their love for the Fair on their tax returns and help the Fair continue the renovation and preservations of the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Look for the State Fairgrounds Renovation Check Off on line 58b of Iowa Tax Form 1040 or on line 14 of Iowa Tax Form 1040A and check off $1 (or more!) to help preserve the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Your gift is either deducted from your refund or added to the amount due. Contributions to the Corndog Checkoff are fully tax-deductible.

"The Corndog Checkoff is a simple way for Iowans to show their love for the Iowa State Fair. Funds raised through this program are an important part of the effort to preserve this great institution for future generations," said Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation Executive Director John Putney.

Every dollar donated to the Checkoff is directly allocated to capital improvements. The Corndog Checkoff has raised nearly $1.6 million and has supplemented restoration projects from the Grandstand to Ye Old Mill. In addition, funds generated by the Checkoff have helped improve the campgrounds, parking areas, sidewalks and restrooms.

The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a non-profi t 501(c)3 organization. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has generated over $80 million for renovations and improvements to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. For more information on the Corndog Tax Checkoff, please contact the Blue Ribbon Foundation at (800) 450-3732 or email bluerf@blueribbonfoundation.org.

 
Crumbling Inland Waterway System Puts Farmers, Consumers at Risk PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:07

Soybean checkoff study finds that United States could lose global competitiveness

ST. LOUIS (Jan. 24, 2012) – Deteriorating condition of the U.S. lock and dam system puts the competiveness of U.S. soybean farmers at risk according to a study funded by the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) and the soybean checkoff’s Global Opportunities (GO) program. Entitled “America’s Locks & Dams: A Ticking Time Bomb for Agriculture,” the in-depth examination coordinated by the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) found American farmers and consumers “…will suffer severe economic distress” if catastrophic U.S. lock or dam failures take place.

More than half of the structures that are part of the U.S. inland waterway system for river barge shipping exceed their 50-year usable lifespan, according to the soybean checkoff-funded report. More than one-third surpass 70 years of age, a concern because major rehabilitation is usually necessary to expand the typical lifespan from 50 to 75 years, according to the study.

“The GO committee invested in this study to calculate the impact of the worsening condition of the lock and dam system and what the impact would be on the rail and highway system if those locks failed,” says Laura Foell, soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa, and chair of the GO committee. “It is important for all in the industry and in the public sector to have the information necessary to make informed decisions when it comes to investing in our locks and dams.”

Just on the Ohio River alone, the accumulated shipping delays at broken-down locks has more than tripled since 2000, rising from 25,000 hours to 80,000 annually. And that gets expensive. This study shows that a three-month lock closure would increase the cost of transporting 5.5 million tons of oilseeds and grain, the average shipped by barge during that period, by $71.6 million. A failure at any of the locks examined by the study could cost U.S. farmers up to $45 million in lost revenue.

The U.S. inland waterways represent key infrastructure for transporting U.S. soybeans. Up to 89 percent of soybeans exported through the lower Mississippi ports, such as the Port of New Orleans, arrive at those ports in barges that must transit multiple locks for the trip downstream.

The study, conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, examined the condition of locks on the Upper Mississippi River, Illinois River and Ohio River. The study also calculated the economic impact of specific lock failures on districts within states, showing the effect on agricultural commodity prices—and on fertilizer and coal prices, which also depend on upstream river barge shipping.

“It is important that we have a robust transportation system,” adds Foell. “Only by using a combination of the lock and dam system, rail system and truck system can we continue to move our products in a manner that will help us feed the world.”

The USB GO program and STC, which is made up of USB, the American Soybean Association and 11 state soybean checkoff boards, plan to examine new and different ways to fund lock and dam and other rural transportation infrastructure improvements. USB made public and private investment in transportation infrastructure one of its top two priority issues.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnitedSoybeanBoard
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unitedsoy
View our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/UnitedSoybeanBoard

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